The highlight was attending church, of course.
On this day, because the crowds are overflowing, the church rents a theater hall at a local college to hold the main service. Later I looked up the seating capacity, and it came in at 1150, and I estimate 80 percent of the seats were full.
The thing about attending a huge church service -- something we seldom do, since our church isn't a "mega"-sized entity -- is the sheer wattage of joy that overflows from the worshippers. We opened with a rousing version of the hymn "Jesus Christ is risen today" and it brought chills. On the stage was a choir, some additional singers, a bell choir, and a small brass ensemble, so the music swelled along with the voices.
On the left is the church's pastor emeritus, who retired a short time before we began attending. He's substituted during a few services over the past couple of years, and it's easy to see why he was so well-loved by the congregation -- he's fabulous. He gave the readings.
The pastor in the middle is the senior pastor, a powerful speaker and joyous soul whose voice, unfortunately, was raspy after so many back-to-back services. He gave everything but the sermon.
The pastor on the right is the assistant pastor hired last year, a man with an extraordinary amount of foreign missionary experience. He's fluent in several languages, including Russian and Polish, and spent many years in remote areas of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Ukraine, etc. He delivered a rousing sermon.
This is my WND column for the weekend, entitled "Cheap Grace."
In response to the column, I received an email from an atheist reader as follows:
Your basic assumption is that the Bible is written by God when it was written by many men and politically rationalized under the Nicea agreement. God could easily convince us all he is real but does not bother; men have to play games with bronze age authors to make themselves important, writing things that control people.This email saddened me -- not for the hateful tone (I'm used to that) but because this man is missing out on the sheer joy that comes with faith. Sad, very sad.
It is such an obvious fabrication that young people have no time for such [expletive deleted].
You are past your sell by date when you cannot recognized such obvious fraud. The current and future generations will not be so naïve. Jesus, a great personage, will go the way of Apollo, Zeus, Ishtaar and Thor.
At one point during the service, a thousand voices recited the Lord's Prayer in unison. A thousand people, praying the familiar prayer given by Jesus himself. Top that for sheer power.
I hope, dear readers, you all experienced a blessed Resurrection Day. Christ is risen, He is risen indeed. Hallelujah!